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Renee Cardwell Hughes is the first African-American woman to hold the position as CEO of Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania. — File Photo

Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes is stepping down as CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania after leading it for almost seven years.

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that provides disaster relief and emergency assistance.

Hughes is the first African-American woman to hold the position as CEO of Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Hughes was traveling and was not available for an interview, however she confirmed that she was leaving the Red Cross via e-mail. Oct. 19 will be her last day.

“After more than six years, I have decided to leave the American Red Cross,” Hughes said in an e-mailed statement.

“There is no good time to make this decision. This time feels right because, the Red Cross of Eastern PA has a strong team to carry on this amazing work. Serving the community as the regional CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern PA has been an incredible, life enriching experience.

“Leading a large, complex, constantly developing organization has been rewarding, but the greatest part of this experience has been the opportunity to serve the community,” she continued.

As the regional CEO, Hughes leads one of the largest Red Cross chapters in the country, serving nearly six million people in Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Monroe, Luzerne, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties. The chapter provides food and shelter in emergencies, assists members of the armed forces and teaches lifesaving skills.

Hughes took the helm of the organization in May 2011. Prior to being appointed CEO, she served as a trial judge in the Court of Common Pleas, the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. Hughes served in the trial division of the court, since her appointment to the bench in 1995 by Gov. Tom Ridge.

She was elected to a full ten year term beginning January, 1996 and was re-elected in 2005 to a second full term.

She specialized in homicides, but has handled both civil and criminal proceedings. Hughes earned her legal degree from Georgetown University Law Center and her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.

“I look forward to continuing to be a benefit to our community in the future,” she said.

ajones@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5747

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